Read more: Tackling Europe’s “Spice” Problem
A new report from the Institute for Security and Development Policy examines yhe growing consumption of Spice—a generic name for chemically produced synthetic cannabinoids.  Spice has been responsible for an increasing number of overdoses and even deaths in European countries. In Sweden alone, 2014 saw the occurrence of over 300 overdoses attributed to Spice. The fact that Spice is composed of largely non-illegal substances—and is therefore sold as “legal”—presents a major problem for policymakers and law enforcement authorities. At both the national and the European level, the efforts made by policymakers to stem the spread of Spice and to eliminate it from circulation have been insufficient. A more robust approach aimed at proscribing the drug and putting the onus

on manufacturers to prove the safety of Spice is therefore necessary.

The report is published by the Transnational Threat Initiative at the ISDP, by researchers Aïssata Maïga, Jeanette Lindberg & Walter Kegö.  Full PDF of the Policy Briefing can be downloaded here.  The authors put forward the case that stronger EU cooperation on the issue, more funding for research and prevention, while shifting the burden of proof of legality to the manufacturers of such drugs, are all essential if Spice is to be tackled effectively.

In 3- 5 december the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) held a reconvened session in Vienna. Delegates discussed preparations for the upcoming special session on the world drug problem in 2016 - UNGASS.

ECAD participated at the session and produced a joint statement in support of the conventions, together with World Federation Against Drugs, San Patrignano Foundation, European Action on Drugs, Drug Policy Futures and Recovered Users Network to the delegates of the CND.

The statement was read by WFAD secretary general Linda Nilsson.

Read more: 57th CND Session in Vienna: Preparing for UNGASS 2016

Protect unborn children from the damages of drugs

On November 21 ECAD organized a conference in Minsk in Belarus together with Women’s Committee on Alcohol and Drugs Issues (WOCAD) and Mothers against Drugs. The conference gathered around 40 representatives working as midwives in Belarus. The conference was held as a part of a 3-year long project between ECAD and WOCAD and is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project supports the work against drugs in Belarus and prioritizes training and support of young women and girls. Deputy director Ake Setréus represented ECAD in the conference and made a speech about the importance of working against drug use, maintaining a restrictive public opinion against drugs and working for democratic societies.

Two pleased delegates from a Child Protection Organization

ECAD-representative Fabio Bernabei, a committed and outspoken voice against drugs, has been awarded the "Heart And Speech Against Drugs prize in memory of murdered Irish jorunalist Veronica Guerrin for his investigative journalism. The award was given by the mayor of Blagoevgrad - Dr. Atanas Kambitov and the ambassador of Ireland in Bulgaria – H.E. John Biggar. 

ECAD congratulates Fabio for the recognition of his work and is proud to have him on board as our Italian representative.
Read more: ECAD Representative Fabio Bernabei Awarded a Prize in Bulgaria

Read more: ECAD Representative Fabio Bernabei Awarded a Prize in Bulgaria

Every year ECAD makes a study visit to the Italian drug rehabilitation of San Patrignano, in Riccione. This year, a delegation from Sweden, Lithuania, Russia, Malta and Italy met with some of San Patriganos over 1300 residents. The residents spoke about recovery from addiction through compassion, hard work and a joint committment to freedom from drugs. San Patrignano have remarkable results and have become a role model for treatment centers around the world, without costing the tax payers a single euro.

If you want to know more please contact the center, or even better yet - join ECAD´s next trip to San Patrignano in the fall of 2015.

Down below you will find ECAD delegation member Emmely Wikholms impression from this years trip.

Read more: ECAD Delegation Visits San Patrignano

Hi Emmely, who are you and why did you join us to San Patrignano? Hi, my name is Emmely Wikholm and I am a member of the social Welfare Board and the drug commission in Gävle, Sweden for the Green Party. My mission is to decrease the use of illicit drugs within the local population with the focus at youths.  

What was your impression of the treatment center and the people you met there? The treatment center and the environment had the right spirit. Work, education and the feeling of belonging is the key to a life without drugs. When we got the tour around San Patrignano by three young guys living there I got the impression that they now had hopes and dreams in their lives. 

Did you like the conference and what will you bring back to Gävle? I enjoyed the conference and got a view of the drug politic and situation in Italy. Also the view that you don't need drugs to be sober from other drugs. We also listened to a presentation about drug courts from an american judge. It would be really interesting to see if that could be introduced in Sweden.  


ECAD's activities from year to year culminate in the annual ECAD Mayors Conference, hosted by a distinct ECAD member city every summer. Councillors and other politicians and policymakers convene with academics and civil society organizations to participate in seminars and study visits, discussing the latest developments in drug prevention efforts throughout Europe.

26th Mayors Conference - Cork 2019



and 6th World Forum Against Drugs

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Conference materials

Kevin Sabet, PhD, Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida, President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), USA
Speech at the WFAD /ECAD 25th Mayors Conference, Gothenburg, May 15, 2018 (Video 5min.)

Supply reduction in Peril?  A lot of the worlds`s drug supply emanates from a war-torn Columbia.
Dr. Michael Jonsson, FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Text to the slides (PDF)
In Columbia, a peace deal has been struck, which gives hope for a closure of insurgency and violence. (PDF)

Thomas Pietschmann, Dr, Drug Research Section, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs
The International drug control system, global/regional and national drug patterns and trends, and supply reduction efforts at the international level (PDF)


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Photo: Götaplatsen @ Klas Eriksson

Annual Mayors` Conference and the 6th World Forum Against Drugs will take off on May 14-15 in Gothenburg this year.
This joint event will address a growing interest to the effective prevention practices, full recovery and alternatives to incarceration and to life-long dependency on drug treatment.
The conference will create a room for elaborating a practical guide to how a recovery city will look like, this will be grounded on the recent evidence-based research.
Sheffield Hallam University (UK), Ghent University (Belgium) and the City of Gothenburg have already started working on this guide in practice.

In order to find out more and to register please visit a joint webpage here.

 WFAD logo jpg  Logo Gothenburg


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ECAD 24th Mayors` Conference materials

On June 12-13, the city of Kaunas hosted ECAD 24th Annual Mayors`s Conference 2017

Safe Cities Without Drugs. Preventing, Protecting, Policing

Key-note speakers:

David W. Spencer, Field intelligence Manager, Drug Enforcement Agency, European Region

Supply reduction and dismantling drug trafficking organizations: In what ways can local communities benefit (PDF)

Kim Nilvall, Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence section, Organized crime

Police work in socially disadvantaged areas in Sweden: Impact of drugs on urban crime (PDF)

 Torsten Stodiek, Deputy Head, Strategic Police Matters Unit, Community Policing Advisor, Transnational Threats Department, OSCE

Preventing terrorism and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism:

A community and intelligence led policing approach (PDF)

Jon Sigfusson, Director for Icelandic Centre of Social Research and Analysis, Reykjavik University, ICSRA

Youth in Europe and Planet Youth (PDF)

Laimonas Vasiliauskas, Senior Specialist, Serious and Organized Crime Department, EUROPOL

European Illicit Drug Market (PDF)

 Antonio Boscini, Health Director, San Patrignano Community, Rimini, Italy

Recovery and social reinsertion: San Patrignano Community model extended (PDF)

a wall of participants



 Conference Booking Form

@ Rokas Tenys, the Kaunas Castle

Kaunas Castle
Picture: @Rokas Tenys

Warm welcome to Kaunas, Lithuania!

Archives of ECAD's mailed newsletters from 2003 until 2013. To subscribe to ECAD's new email-based newsletter, click here.
Official ECAD mission statements in six different European languages.
The ECAD Resolution, crafted at a conference to increase cooperation between cities, provides inspiration and hope for areas with particularly difficult drug problems. The signatories to the resolution will affirm their decision to fight against the spread of drugs.